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Why Are You So Afraid? (Matthew 8:26)

Another question that I pose to myself casts light upon my present experience and probes the depths of my psyche.

In some ways, I’m prepared to make my transition, but it does not happen: life still burgeons my desire to live; especially following short walks, outdoors, with my caregiver. Only today did I touch the red stamen of a yellow magnolia blossom growing in a neighbor’s yard, then gloried in Creator God. Never have I seen such coloration.

But the despoliation of our global world also terrifies me. To this, a friend always responds, ”God knows what he’s doing!” followed by the imperative to trust.

Yet, fears can suck my resolve and warp mental functioning like pesky mosquitoes feasting on road-kill. Such intrusions feel like another has usurped my power, cut moorings to the familiar, and relegated me to the ash pit, mangy with week-old garbage.

Happily, I’ve learned the way out: practicing Steps Six and Seven of Chronic Pain Anonymous in the presence of Jesus of Nazareth: mustering readiness for the removal of fears and humbly asking that such occur. Occasionally, I telephone for help if the fears persist.  

This works, like nothing else that I’ve tried, but I still have to keep practicing; its result, on-going spiritual cleansing, essential for living eternally.

If you love the truth, be a lover of silence. Silence like the sun will illuminate you in God—a trenchant saying attributed to the seventh-century Isaac the Syrian, Bishop, theologian, and monk, and regarded a saint by the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Such words reveal the unseen caught in the flux of time. Key to this process is passion, whose firelight, like the sun, ignites inner worlds and cleanses them. But who cares to go there—To discipline unruly instincts clamoring for expression? That would be like dying. Such flies in the face of our cultural mores, entrapped in denial, rationalization, and idealization. The predictable is more comfortable, yet soulless.

It does not take much to see who is truly alive among us: their quickening gaze, their resonant voices, their laughter—They just seem to know. During my work years, I had sought out such teachers.

One of these was Ocie, a hospice patient with cropped white hair, a toothless grin, the frayed shirttails of her deceased husband spilling over her shorts. Barefoot, she leaned into her quad cane as she hobbled to the door. Of no importance, her right side shriveled by stroke, her fingernails still dirtied from back-porch gardening.

Hilarity enlivened her cramped bungalow, filled with bookcases of salt and pepper-shakers from most of the States, rusted birdcages she had used for breeding canaries, stacks of faded albums jammed with photos, and a dusty Singer sewing machine half-buried beneath swatches of cloth. As we walked to her kitchen, mating turtles outside the window unleashed her squeals.

Ocie’s ensuing story shimmered with fires of all magnitudes. Like Simon the Syrian’s silence, hers was also tinged by uproar, thereby mirroring God’s outrageous humor.

I still smile remembering her gusto, despite the shortness of her days.

At 3 A.M., I awoke with this dream:

Two distinctive women’s hats, identical in design, fabric, and color, draw everyone’s attention and comment during a social engagement.

 So it’s about hats and their purpose. Dr. C. G. Jung, founder of Analytical Psychology, described the symbolic value of hats as covering heads, the locus of our spiritual faculties: thinking, willing, remembering, and imagining; their development is key to our individuation. That there are two hats in the dream suggests a dyad: two things or persons in an intimate relationship, with a high level of agreement between them.

Who wears the two distinctive women’s hats in the dream is not clear—perhaps my sister Martha, visiting this week and myself, recipients of the Moloney heritage, yet unique in its unfolding. The hats, though identical in design, fabric, and color also exude differing energies.

This dream also follows yesterday’s infusion of spirited-women-energy in my beleaguered psyche, during stories shared by my sister Martha, sister-in-law Susie, and Dana the hospice nurse: a quaternity of wholeness according to Jung. From this mélange surfaced helpful information: my ILD with RA is a rare terminal disease, one that also shortened the life of Dana’s ninety-six year-old father. Liquid morphine under the tongue will keep open my lung sacs for critical breathing, and a final swish will take me out of here. I will not suffocate.

Such a memorable afternoon relishing the Sacred Feminine in our midst: laughter krinkled the edges of the hilarious and put even the dour in perspective. I am grateful and will continue participating in each twenty-four hours allotted me.



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